How to Obtain Letters of Recommendation | Teen Ink

How to Obtain Letters of Recommendation

February 27, 2019
By annaeverson BRONZE, Cooksville, Ontario
annaeverson BRONZE, Cooksville, Ontario
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Letters of recommendation are an essential component of an application to graduate school.  They provide the admissions committee with professional opinions of your potential as a graduate student and scholar.  Most graduate programs require three letters from scholars working in philosophy.

The best letters originate from people who possess knowledge of your abilities as demonstrated in classroom discussions, your written work, and informal conversations outside the classroom.  It is therefore in your best interest to get to know faculty at PC by visitng them during their office hours or just chatting with them in the hallways.  The better a professor knows you, the better the letter he or she will be able to write for you. 

When you are ready to ask people to write good  letters of recommendation, set up an appointment to meet with them to discuss your plans.  Do not expect your request to be granted at the meeting.  The person you ask to write a letter of recommendation might wish to take a little time to consider your request.  There are reasons why someone might decide against granting your request, some having nothing to do with your potential to excel in graduate school.  It might be that the professor doesn't know you or your work well enough to write a strong letter for you, in which case you might be better off asking someone else who does. 

Although not necessary, it is a good idea to provide your letter writer an information packet that includes some or all of the following information:

 - Cover Letter : Providing a copy of your cover letter will furnish useful information about your motives for pursuing graduate studies in philosophy.
 - Curriculum Vitae (CV): The more a person knows about your academic background, the more personalized and therefore effective a letter he may write about you.
 - Writing Samples: If a semester or more has passed since you studied under the person writing a letter for you, you would do well to give him the marked up, original copies of the essays you wrote in his course.
 - Transcript: An unofficial copy of your transcript will give the letter writer information on which classes you have tekn in the major and overall at PC.  If your GPA does not reflect your abilities as indicated by the grades you received in your philosophy classes, the writer will be able to point that out in his letter.
 - Mailing Letters of Recommendation and Application Deadlines: Your professors are very busy, especially during the fall and spring semesters.  Please provide ample time for them to review your material and write their letters.  It is also important to provide them with stamped, self-addressed envelopes.

The author's comments:

The GRE General test is designed to give an objective indication of your potential for success in graduate school.  And although the GRE consists of three separate sections testing your verbal, quantitative and analytical skills, most philosophy programs consider the verbal score (not, as might be expected, the analytical section) to be the most accurate indication of your potential.  While it is true that the GRE is not the only factor taken into consideration by graduate programs, a high score <a href=""></a> could be your ticket to a scholarship and other forms of financial support whereas a low score will almost certainly result in your application being rejected.

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